World of Chig   

Happy 50th Birthday to Blue Peter!

It's World Food Day today and Blue Peter's 50th birthday. The government has decided to mark these occasions with a parade of our Olympians and Paralympians around London on buses, while sending the Queen to visit Google (according to their homepage):

Tonight, I will be scanning something which relates to one of these events, which will make you smile. No time now though...

I haven't yet watched today's 50th anniversary Blue Peter programme, but it reminded me to dig out this from my tape collection. This is what I was doing thirty years ago today. It's cassette number one from my collection, from 1978. (I'd had a tape recorder since 1975, but started numbering them from this one because on side 2 it has Blondie's Parallel Lines; the first album I ever taped from a friend's vinyl copy.)

On side 1 is Blue Peter's 20th anniversary programme, which I've labelled correctly on the spine, but for some reason called 'Blue Peter - Highlights from the 25th Anniversary Programme' on the inlay card, erroneously adding five years. (I was only 12 in October 1978, but it's no excuse!) The recording is an audio copy of the anniversary programme, which I deemed important enough to preserve for posterity by holding the microphone from my Kasuga cassette recorder in front of the TV for 25 minutes. As a sign of things to come, side one also includes three songs from Eurovision 1979.

To the twelve-year-old me in 1978, Blue Peter was more than an institution already and felt like it had been around for ever, so for it to make fifty is amazing. Congratulations to all concerned!

The Queen had a garden party yesterday for Blue Peter viewers and former presenters, but, according to Richard Bacon last night on his Five Live show (which I listen to every night), he and Janet Ellis weren't invited, so they had their own party, together. It's often been said that Janet Ellis was sacked from Blue Peter in 1987 because she was pregnant and not married to the father of the baby, but she says this is a myth and so does Biddy Baxter, Blue Peter's legendary editor. (Some people also think that the baby in question was Sophie Ellis-Bextor, but Janet had given birth to her eight years earlier.) Richard Bacon also had his moment of disgrace, but I really hope that these aren't the reasons why these two weren't invited to the palace, or it would indicate that things haven't moved on very much where the monarchy is concerned.

Good luck to Blue Peter and all who sail in her! May you never go the way of Grange Hill and Top Of The Pops.

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